‘Gas & Indigestion No One’s Pro’potty’: An Open Letter To Piku’s ‘Bhashkor Banerjee’

Everyone poops, yes it’s the most natural thing to clear your bowels and god forbid you weren’t able too, you would be in a lot of trouble. Forget the gut and brain connect, but for some just discussing their time or rather the lack of it on the ‘throne’ brings a kind of a ‘release’.

So four years ago, when the Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Irrfan starrer Piku hit screens, it made toilet humor rather palatable than getting your intestines into a twist.

As Amitabh Bachchan’s Bhashkor Banerjee bemoaned his dysfunctional innards, my Bengali friends gloated over the fact that ‘potty talk’, their favourite topic of discussion, had moved from the dining table to the big screens. But hello, it’s not just Bengalis as a community that make no secret of the fact that digestive indiscretions are their pet peeve or obsession. Can I please handover the toilet paper here, we Punjabi’s take our food and the ability to ‘gas’ wherever, whenever, very seriously. As Irrfan’s character Rana says ‘har cheez pe bangaliyon ka copy right nahi hai’.

and his ‘motion’-talk was no different from my good old Punju extended clan, which, at large gatherings, could break bread and wind together with the same ease and discuss it in the same breath. As I would turn up my unsuspecting nose inhaling fumes of rajma-chawal or pindi masala chana, only to get chastised, ‘toh ki gal, natural haiga na’.

My maternal grandmother, god bless her dear jovial soul, loved toilet humor, so much so, she would tell you how to decipher whose wind belonged to whom. Yes, you read that right, according to her, a newly married girl would break wind shyly, while an adored grandchild would exude desi ghee like vapors, whilst the lady of the house would let out whatever was cooking, but the man of the house would be the ‘wind breaker’. But she gave it a ‘philosophical’ twist as well, how farts could reveal a lot about an individual’s personality. The brave ones were loud, whilst the meek were weak, and that one must be weary of those two-faced emitters of gas, who would walk away as soon as they let it out.

Then there is my good old aunty, a greeting to whom is invariably met with either a not-so-cheerful or happy rejoinder on how generous or stingy her bowels had proven to be that morning. If you empathized with her plight , she would also suggest prescriptions to take if faced with similar recalcitrant insides. Isabogol if you had the runs, Triphala, if constipated; Dulcoflex, if you wanted a colon cleanse.

So, my Bengali pals, it’s just not you who have a monopoly over the chemists stomach related stocks. But then it’s also not just the Punju and Bongs who bonded over these core issues. A friend suggested her Goan brethren could give us quite a run in this Game of ‘Thrones’.

Accept it, crack an intelligent joke, not all get it – but crack a toilet joke, it could help get a party started. As Rana in Piku says, ‘death and shit happen to us all’.

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